Mission Without Borders (MWB), a UK based charity which works in six of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe, recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of their Street Mercy Programme.

Based in Bulgaria, this programme provides both support and material essentials to homeless people in the capital city, Sofia, 365 days a week, through a network of local volunteers. Operating from two bases in the city, one of the key methods of support is through a mobile soup kitchen, which has provided soup, bread, warm clothing, shoes, blankets and medical assistance to homeless people over the last 5 years. Volunteers are also critical in providing companionship and counselling to a wide variety of people, including children from institutions, unemployed young people, those struggling with addictions, and those with mental and physical disabilities.

Rural poverty and unemployment is rife in Bulgaria, causing huge influxes of people into the capital city in order to seek work. Yet these people, who commonly struggle to find employment, also receive very little support from local authorities, being left homeless as a result.

MWB’s manager in Bulgaria, Sarkis Ovanesyan, says, ‘I would like to thank everyone who has made this project happen over the past five years, from volunteers to MWB supporters around the world. The aim of the project has always been simple – to provide and show Christian love to the most vulnerable in our society. I pray that we will be able to continue to support those in great need and that through this project they will find hope and see a practical difference in their lives.’

MWB was formed in the 1960s, beginning as an underground evangelist movement to counter the religious oppression that Christians were facing under communist regimes in Europe. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, MWB expanded their scope considerably, now providing spiritual, emotional, educational and material support to some of Eastern Europe’s poorest communities.

Find out more about MWB here.

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Kirsten Ehrlich is currently studying archaeology at UCL, but is interested in pursuing a career in journalism after gaining her degree.